The Memorial Day holiday is just around the corner. For many of us, the three-day weekend marks the start of vacation season and all the perks that come with it, such as attending street festivals, enjoying outdoor activities and eating lots and lots of ice cream.
This long weekend is the perfect time to let loose and look ahead to the summer days that are to come, while also staying true to the holiday’s origins and honoring fallen military personnel.
If you’re still looking for something to do that’s close to home, here are some of the best ways to celebrate Memorial Day and Memorial Day Weekend around Oahu. And if you already have your three-day weekend all planned out, you just might change your destination plans after you see our picks.
Hawaii Memorial Day Parade | Honolulu | May 27
Honor the memory of those who served during the Vietnam War at the Hawaii Memorial Day Parade. The festivities begin at 8:30am with a ceremony at Fort DeRussy Park and the parade starts at 9am preceding down Kalakaua Avenue and ending in front of the Honolulu Zoo. This year’s event features include marching bands, scouts, military organizations and more.
Observance at War Memorial Natatorium | Waikiki | May 28
The 100-meter by 40-meter saltwater pool at the War Memorial Natatorium opened in 1927 as a tribute to the more than 10,000 military members who served during World War I, including the estimated 101 from Hawaii who died during the war. The ceremony takes place on Sunday, the day before Memorial Day, with guest speakers, hula and musical performances, a 21-gun salute and a paddle-out from San Souci beach.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific | Honolulu | May 29
Pay your respects to the fallen service men and women buried in the “Hill of Sacrifice” with a visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Each Memorial Day, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops of Oahu visit the Punchbowl crater and lay 38,000 fresh flower lei on the graves, made and donated by the community and local schools.
Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony | Honolulu | May 29
The Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony, held each Memorial Day at Ala Moana Beach Park, has become an Oahu tradition. Over 50,000 people are expected to set approximately 6,000 candle-lit lanterns to sea in honor of departed military members and loved ones, as well as symbols of peace. The ceremony includes a Hawaiian oli (chant), hula, music and the lighting ceremony.